Hitting the open road. Reconnecting with nature. Watching Netflix?
These days, our interconnected world has more RV lovers than ever before. And they want fully-connected WiFi for RV traveling!
We can’t blame them. Staying connected with family and watching your favorite shows after a long day exploring nature on your RV camping trip sounds amazing.
In this article, we’ll go over all your options for how to get WiFi in an RV, plus everything you should consider before making a purchase. So if you want to stay connected and see the country in an RV, keep reading!
What to consider before getting RV WiFi
Photo Credit: Instagram User @f_o_n_z
Before you get RV WiFi, there are a few questions you should ask yourself to get an idea of what your specific needs are. You don’t want to overpay for a service you don’t need or be stuck with WiFi that isn’t powerful enough, so keep these questions in mind.
- Do you plan on streaming video? Streaming on Netflix requires 3GB per hour of data.
- What are you looking to spend on RV WiFi? Local public WiFi is usually free or cheap. Cellular data can be costly if you don't have an unlimited plan. Satellite internet is also expensive.
- Will you need to work from the road? Zoom calls for work will take anywhere from 810MB to 2.4 GB of data per hour for group meetings.
- How many internet users will there be in your RV? If you have multiple internet users, the GB usage per hour rate can add up fast.
- Where do you plan on taking your RV trip? Are you going somewhere remote where cell service won’t work? Do you plan on staying in an RV park with local WiFi?
- What is your current cellular data plan? Will you have to buy a 4G LTE service or upgrade your plan to use cellular data for RV WiFi?
- Are you renting your RV, or do you own it? Most satellite internet services aren’t allowed on RV rentals because they require hardware installation.
RV WiFi Options
Photo Credit: Instagram User @takethescenicroutewithus
So, how do you get WiFi in an RV?
There are three main ways to get RV WiFi while on the road:
- Wireless Service Provides (Cellular data)
- Satellite Connection
- Local WiFi Networks
Cellular Data Devices
Using your cell phone as a wireless 4G LTE hotspot is the best RV WiFi option for most people.
If you have an unlimited data plan, personal hotspots can deliver enough connectivity to watch Netflix or work online in most locations. You can also buy a personal hotspot device (like one of these from Verizon or Skyroam) and connect to 4G LTE networks.
Despite cell phone providers claiming they cover over 97% of Americans, the reality is that even the best cellular 4G LTE network covers only 70% of the country’s total landmass. That means millions of miles of terrain where your cell phone won’t be able to provide any connection.
You can try and use cell phone signal boosters or external Mifi Antennas to increase the signal range. However, using cellular data isn’t always the best idea if you’re working online or planning to go somewhere remote.
Satellite Internet Services
If you need to work from the road or can’t live without your low latency online video games, satellite internet services might be just what you’re looking for.
Satellite internet is the most expensive method to get online while using an RV. Installation of the satellite alone can cost thousands, but the services are powerful and convenient. Of course, if you’re renting an RV, satellite internet usually isn’t an option due to installation issues.
There are new ‘Sat-Fi’ systems that sell for around $600 and don’t require installation. They don’t provide the same quality of internet connection, though, and you’ll still have to pay for data.
Local Public/Private WiFi
In the past, local public/private WiFi was rarely useful for RV campers. Most RV parks didn’t have WiFi, and when they did, it was usually slow. These days, the local public/private RV WiFi landscape is changing.
There are now around 430 million WiFi hotspots around the world, and RV parks are including local public WiFi far more often. You can also use a WiFi extender to take advantage of as much free internet as possible while on the road.
The quality of local public WiFi is leading many RV lovers to skip the roaming WiFi altogether. After all, having a chance to disconnect for a while can be a blessing.
Photo Credit: Instagram User @northabroad
Ready for an RV getaway?
RV WiFi can make a trip more enjoyable, but sometimes it’s better to just escape it all and disconnect from the world.
After all, a 2019 study by HootSuite and We Are Social found that the average internet user spends more than a quarter of their life online. It couldn’t hurt to go a few days without WiFi.
Whether it’s an RV camping trip to a national park or a cross-country road trip, there’s so much to enjoy offline.
And with Cruise America RV rentals, you can do it all without breaking the bank. Rentals start at just $50/Night, and there are great weekly rates available.
For all your RV rental needs, Cruise America is here to help with a location near you.